Themeda australis

Family Poaceae

Kangaroo Grass

Tufted perennial grass to 1 m high, often tinted red. Tussocks up to 0.5 m across. Longevity indefinite.

Flowers: Mostly summer. Wind pollinated.

Fruit: Dry indehiscent fruit during December – March depending on rainfall.

Seed: Locally dispersed, long elongate inflorescence stems drop seeds away from plant tussock. Possibly some dispersal by adhesion. Some dormancy. Soil stored seedbank. Twisted awn assists seed burial.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Grassy woodland habitat in full sun to light shade,
  • Widespread and common in grassland and woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Forms dense tussocks crowding out other species.
  • Grazed by Wallaroos and rabbits. Will not tolerate continuous grazing, very palatable when young.
  • Food plant of butterfly larvae Heteronympha merope.
  • Tolerates occasional but not frequent mowing or slashing.
  • C4 warm season growing metabolism.
  • Tolerates occasional burning, resprouts after fire.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Themeda australis plant

Themeda australis flower

Themeda australis fruit